Who We Are
The mission of the Victoria Symphony is:
To enrich lives through the shared experience of extraordinary music.
Below are the people on stage and behind the scenes that bring extraordinary music to life.
Music Director - Maestra Tania Miller
In 2016-2017 Tania Miller celebrates her 14th season as Music Director of the Victoria Symphony in a position that she has occupied with distinction and acclaim. She has been a driving force behind new growth, innovation and quality for the Victoria Symphony, and has gained a national reputation as a highly effective advocate and communicator for the arts. As curator, she has distinguished herself in Canada as a visionary leader and innovator.
On the podium, Maestra Miller projects authority, dynamism and sheer love of the experience of making music. As one critic put it, she delivers “a calm intensity . . . expressive, colourful and full of life . . . her experience and charisma are audible” Others call her performances “technically immaculate, vivid and stirring”.
Recently celebrating the orchestra’s 75th anniversary in the 2015-2016 season, Tania Miller brought the Victoria Symphony on its first National tour with performances in Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver in concerts that were noted for their boldness, unified spirit and expressive vibrancy. Curating a season which included special guests Yo-Yo Ma, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and a host of extraordinary artists taking part in special festivals and events, Miller showcased the orchestra and brought them once again to new heights.
Tania Miller has appeared as a guest conductor in Canada, the United States and Europe with such orchestras as the Toronto Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Bern Symphony Orchestra (Switzerland), Oregon Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, and Wroclaw Philharmonic (Poland) among others and looks toward an upcoming debut with the Chicago Symphony.
Maestra Miller’s early passion was opera; she conducted numerous productions for Michigan Opera Works in Ann Arbor (where she served as Artistic Director) and Opera McGill in Montréal. She obtained her doctoral and master’s degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan.
Miller received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria in recognition of her exemplary work as a leader and for her extraordinary artistic achievements in the community. In addition she was a recent recipient of the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Foundation for her community leadership. Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music bestowed her with an Honorary Diploma for her impact on Canadian music in 2015.
Tania lives in Vancouver with her husband and two boys (8 and 10).
What the media has to say
“It was wonderful to hear this dark, lovely, somber work reclaimed by such a masterly performance by the VSO, led by Tania Miller, and what a gift she is to the city’s orchestra. She has absolute authority over the score, clarifying its dense textures, her long term thoughts giving it the shape it needs and bringing out every detail, its variety, its delicious orientalisms, the ravishments of the slow movement. She has the gift of disappearing into the music, the sign of a true conductor. It was 45 minutes of bliss.”
– Vancouver Sun
“…the audience called Tania Miller back for two encores, the second becoming a standing ovation. She had earlier complemented the SSO on a grand week together. The feeling should be mutual as Miller’s passionate, poetic, and highly articulate conducting was certainly a treat for the audience.”
– Saskatoon Star Phoenix
“From the resonant opening chord to the tumultuous closing bars Miller directed a reading which seldom, if ever, put a foot wrong. ”
– Victoria Times Colonist
Tania Miller is the 9th Music Director in the History of the Victoria Symphony, following:
Melvin Knudsen (1941-1948)
Hans Gruber (1948-1964)
Otto Werner Mueller (1964-1967)
Laszlo Gati (1967-1978)
Paul Freeman (1979-1988)
Peter McCoppin (1989-1999)
Kees Bakels (1999-2001)
Timothy Vernon Interim Music Director (2001-2003)
The female equivalent of the male appellation “Maestro” in Italian is “Maestra”.
Musicians of the VS
The Victoria Symphony is made up of a diverse group of Canadian and international musicians. For a complete listing of our orchestra members, click here.
Bernhard Gueller, Principal Guest Conductor
Bernhard Gueller has been music director or principal conductor of several orchestras, including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra. When he conducted his final concert in Nuremberg, he was lauded for the quality of the orchestra he had built up. He was also principal guest conductor of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gueller has collaborated with many leading soloists such as violinists Joshua Bell and James Ehnes, cellists Daniel Mueller-Schott, Maria Kliegel, Claudio Bohorquez and David Geringas; pianists Ivo Pogorelich, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Lars Vogt, Janina Fialkowska, Peter Donohoe, Anton Kuerti, John Kimura Parker and Wayne Marshall and Jan Lisiecki, trumpeter Maurice Andre, singer Measha Bruggergosman, and entertainers Lionel Ritchie and David Foster.
He is acknowledged for the work he does with youth orchestras in South Africa, Germany and Nova Scotia and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dalhousie University in Halifax in 2009 in recognition of his “outstanding personal achievements.”
Giuseppe Pietraroia, Conductor in Residence
Giuseppe Pietraroia is Conductor-in-Residence for both Pacific Opera Victoria and the Victoria Symphony. As a guest conductor he has been engaged by l’Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestra London, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic, Okanagan Symphony, Regina Symphony and the Kingston Symphony.
His extensive opera engagements include assisting on Faust at Opera Lyra Ottawa, as well as several Pacific Opera Victoria productions, including Un Ballo in Maschera, Tosca, Werther and Magic Flute. As well he has conducted POV’s productions of Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, La Traviata, La Boheme, Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma, Rigoletto, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, La Cenerentola and Tosca. In addition he has conducted productions of Tosca and La Traviata for Opera New Brunswick, La Boheme for l’Opéra de Montréal and Madama Butterfly for l’Opéra de Québec.
With Victoria Choral Society where he was Music Director for 7 seasons, Maestro Pietraroia conducted performances of Messiah with the Victoria Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, a choreographed production of Orff’s Carmina Burana in collaboration with Ballet Victoria, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, and the Duruflé and Fauré Requiem.
Maestro Pietraroia has recorded a cd with soprano Marie-Josée Lord and l’Orchestre Métropolitain for the ATMA label, which won a Felix award granted by l’ADISQ and was recently nominated for a Juno award.
Giuseppe Pietraroia is the recipient of the George and Jane Heffelfinger Pacific Opera Victoria Artist of the Year Award and the Canada Council’s Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestral Conducting.
Jared Miller, Composer in Residence
Jared Miller‘s orchestral work 2010 Traffic Jam was commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for the 2010 Olympics and has since been performed over two dozen times. Recently, Miller’s newest orchestral work, Contrasted Perspectives was selected from over 400 scores to be publicly work-shopped in June of 2014 by the acclaimed American Composers Orchestra in New York as a part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial celebration. He has won numerous awards for composition that include a 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Award, the 2011/12 Juilliard Orchestra Competition and the 2011 SOCAN Competition for Young Composers.
An active pianist as well, Miller has performed at a variety of venues including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Lincoln Center and the Chan Center for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, BC.
As a passionate advocate for musical education and outreach Miller has worked for several initiatives including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Connects Program, the BC Health Arts Society, Vancouver’s Opera in the Schools and for New York’s Opportunity Music Project.
Born in Los Angeles in 1988 and raised in Vancouver Canada, Miller completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia in composition with Stephen Chatman and Dorothy Chang and in piano with Sara Davis Buechner and Corey Hamm. He is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School where he studies with John Corigliano and Samuel Adler. When he is not composing, performing, teaching, or studying, Miller can be found going for long-distance runs around Central Park, watching both mainstream and independent films, cooking or, if he’s simply too tired, exploring the many culinary delights of New York City.
Board of Directors
Victoria Symphony Society Board of Directors
Brian Butler, President
Alan Hollingworth, 1st Vice President
April-Dawn Best, 2nd Vice President
Patricia Lortie, Secretary
Terry Scandrett, Treasurer
Honorary Life Members
Dr. Eric Charman, CM, OBC
Neville and Jill Gibson
C. Stephen Smith
Business Advisory Council
The BAC of the Victoria Symphony is a group of community leaders who believe that the Greater Victoria community is enriched by the VS, its performances, its musicians, and its supporters, and who help the Symphony through advising and action.
Members of the BAC:
John D. Heraghty
Box Office (Tickets, packages, schedule inquiries)
Victoria Symphony Society
620 View Street, Suite 610
Administration (General inquiries)
Kathryn Laurin, CEO
Liz Skillings, Director of Finance
Jill Smillie, Director of Marketing
Lorraine Tanner, Director of Development
Rachael Blaseckie, Exectuive Coordinator
Sandy Grayson, Community Relations Coordinator
Molly Patton, Marketing Coordinator
Cheryl Berg, Box Office Coordinator
Karen Batchelor, Senior Development Officer
Alanna Tynan, Planned Giving Coordinator
Alexandra Weaver, Development Coordinator
Peter Burris, Orchestra Manager
Russell Bajer, Librarian
Ron Comber, Associate Librarian
Eric Gallipo, Stage Manager